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Molinari Leaves Field In HIs Wake

Francesco Molinari blitzed the field with an eight shot victory at the Quicken Loans event in Washington (Photo: Getty Images)
Dominant doesn’t begin to describe the performance of Italy’s Francesco Molinari in capturing his first US Tour win in Washington.

Molinari, winner of the European Tour’s flagship BMW PGA last month, produced a stunning final round 62, equaling the course record, to win the Quicken Loans National by eight shots from American Ryan Armour.

The World Number 17 could make a case for being the game’s most under rated player but after his performance at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm that is unlikely to remain the case.

After a brilliant birdie at the 18th Saturday evening to ensure a share of the lead with 18 holes remaining, Molinari picked up where he left off Sunday with a birdie at the second and another at the sixth to grab the lead outright.

But it was over the closing nine he separated himself, starting the run to the clubhouse with an eagle and four straight birdies to put himself in an unassailable position.

Molinari skipped the French Open on the European Tour to improve his position in the FedEx Cup and has not only jumped 81 places in those standings but earned himself full exemption in the US for the next two years.

“It’s what I came here for,” he told CBS’ Amanda Balionis after holing the winning putt. “It was not easy to skip Paris and the French Open but in the end I think I can say I took the right decision.

“I was a long way back in the FedEx standings and I thought I deserved to be further up so it’s nice to catch up a little bit.

“I think last year I missed the Tour Championship by one shot so that’s the mission this year and today is a great step forward.”

He said he was particularly pleased with his play on the inward nine after going to the turn with the lead.

“I’m glad I played great the back nine, the start of the back nine,” he said.

“I’m really proud of what I’ve done and I hope a lot of guys back home were watching tonight.”

Tournament host Tiger Woods made an early charge to go to the turn 10-under and within touching distance of Molinari but, as he did yesterday, wasted shots early in the back nine to ruin his chances.

A missed birdie opportunity at the 10th was followed by a card wrecking bogey at 11 and another at 13 and while he made impressive birdies at 12, 15 and 16 a missed three-foot effort for birdie at the drivable par-4 14th was reflective of his current struggles.

Woods continues to play enough world class golf to put himself in the mix and a new putter in the bag this week seems to have made inroads into his struggles in that department.

But he continues to make mistakes at crucial times and while vastly improved with the flatstick this week still finished second last for putts made inside 10 feet.

An impressive par save at the last saw him sign for a 66 and a share of fourth position and he will head to his next start, the Open at Carnoustie, with plenty of positives form the week.

Marc Leishman finished best of the Australians at T13 after a flat weekend.

The Victorian opened with back to back 67’s and was in good position to challenge heading to the weekend but couldn’t gain any momentum on Saturday and Sunday.

Scores of 69-70 were good though not great golf and at the top level of the game that won’t get the job done.

Cameron Percy was the other Australian to qualify for the weekend and he finished T32 at 3-under for the week.

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